Pres. Trump, Biden appeal to last-minute voters in dueling rallies in Tampa

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden made a final push to sway voters in the Tampa Bay area by holding campaign events in Tampa on Thursday.

President Trump rallied in front of a crowd at Raymond James Stadium Thursday afternoon. Hours later, Biden hosted a drive-in campaign event at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

“I think it’s awesome, I think it will be a good little show to see how Tampa is feeling, who is doing what and who is winning the support,” said Ryan Jones, a Tampa man who lined up at 1 a.m. for Trump’s rally.

Jones’ friend Andrew Caamano lives in Hernando County and also lined up at 1 a.m. Thursday.

“I got no sleep, I laid down for about a half-hour on a cot and laid down for about 2 seconds in the back of my truck in a chair,” he said.

The rally took place at the Raymond James North Lot at 4201 North Dale Mabry Highway at 1:30 p.m.

The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Office had previously warned that the rally at Raymond James could cause traffic delays for those trying to get to the stadium’s early voting site. There are 26 early voting sites available around Hillsborough County. Voters can check wait times online before heading out to vote.

Florida law says campaign activities aren’t allowed within 150 feet of an early voting site, but election officials say the Trump rally will be outside the “no solicitation zone.” Campaign activities are allowed outside the zone.

The Democratic presidential nominee was forced to wrap his speech up early at a drive-in rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds after a brief shower turned into a torrential downpour.

Biden picked up his binder and dashed off the stage as the rain came down, scattering the crowd of people who had gathered near the stage to hear him speak. The campaign said 285 cars were there.

Biden focused his remarks on President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus and his efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act. He also went after the president for holding an earlier rally in Tampa without following social distancing guidelines to avoid the spread of the virus.

Biden said Trump “just had a superspreader event here again,” but added, “he’s spreading more than just the virus — he’s spreading division and discord.”

Prior to the event, Biden delivered remarks at a drive-in event in Broward County.

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